All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In the "Carriker Chronicles" video series, he breaks down the latest NU news, upcoming opponents, player updates and recruiting information, and he offers his insight into the X's and O's and more.
On Monday's episode, Adam Carriker talks to Husker commit Blaise Gunnerson about why he chose Nebraska over Iowa and Iowa State, what excites him about Erik Chinander's defense and more.
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Here's a transcript of today's show:
Adam Carriker: Welcome to the Carriker Chronicles, the people's show, where we check the pulse of Husker Nation, brought to you by Nebraska Spine Hospital. Today, I am joined by a soon to be Husker signee, six-foot five, 250 pound defensive end out of Iowa, Mr. Blaise Gunnerson. How you doing Blaise?
Blaise Gunnerson: Hey, I'm doing great. Thanks for having me on your show.
Adam: Yeah, I want to thank you for joining me. So, right off the top: What are your emotions as you get ready to sign to officially make it official, make it officially official that you're going to be coming to Nebraska and joining Scott Frost and this Husker football program. How are you feeling at the moment?
Blaise: I cannot wait. Scott Frost, he's a great recruiter for me. He really got me to believe in his mission throughout the entire recruiting process and I have all the faith in the world in that guy and Coach Chinander that we're going to get things on the right track.
Adam: I know some of the other schools — you're from Iowa. I know Iowa State, I know Iowa, I know some of those other schools were talking with you. What excites you about Nebraska, and what made you pick the right team over those other teams?
Blaise: Yeah, for sure the right team. I actually really enjoyed Iowa and Iowa State. Got along really well with the coaching staff. Like I said, I just believed in Frost, you know, the vision for this team, and I feel like we're going to do something special, and I really I know he's on the right track doing that. So, I just want to be a part of what he's gonna be building there.
Adam: Is there any former Huskers from the past — defensive linemen, defensive ends, outside linebackers — that you know you would like to emulate your game after? As you join the Husker program, you develop you grow, you get better and better, who would you like to emulate that was a former Husker that you've seen and watched play on Saturdays?
Blaise: Well, there's part of the problem. I grew up in Iowa and an Iowa State fan. I've never watched old-time Nebraska football. That's kind of one of the goals when I get there on campus in January. I'm going to have coach Chinander give me some film on these guys to watch, you know, just how you guys did it back in the day. I know 'throw the bones' is still a big thing, and I can't wait to get down there and do that, but I'm just going to try to bring my game and then just learn from the greats that come from the past, and you know, I'll find my guy and we'll just go from there. I've got to add my own spice to it, you know?
Adam: Yeah, absolutely. No doubt about that. So, what are some of the things that you feel are strengths in your game at the moment. You're like, 'Man, I'm really, really good at this.' And, what are some of the things that you need to work on? Everybody has things they need to work on. What are you like, 'Man, I need to get better at this.' What would be your strengths, and what would be the things you need to work on the most?
Blaise: Yeah, my weight, at 250 pounds I've always had a pretty solid get-up off the line on obvious passing situations. So, I think I'm good in that perspective. I have a couple solid moves. I could do a speed rush, I'd counter with an inside swim move, or, I can do a spin. I need to work on my power rush a little bit, that long arm, and then I've gotten pretty dang solid at one-on-one blocks on the ... guard comes at me, and I'm pretty good at squeezing that down, but just a straight up run-game when they're coming right at me, I need work a little bit on that, and then just work on my pass rush. You could never get too good at that stuff. So, just keep working, you know?
Adam: Yeah, you know it's interesting, and you use lingo right now that I didn't even know existed when I came out of high school. So, I was a quarterback all the way to my senior year in high school. Then I was a quarterback and defensive end, so I was — to just say I was raw would be exceedingly kind. I didn't know anything about squeezing down, a pulling guard, I didn't know nothing about no counter move. For me, it was fly off the ball and just run as fast as I can, and however I get there, I get there. So, you're light years ahead of where I was. So, that's that's awesome to hear right there.
Blaise: There's no problem with that way of playing though. You know, that's what Coach Frost is going to get these guys to do, is just to play very fast and smart at the same time. So, I'm trying to put it all together.
Adam: Now you had an opportunity to meet Grant Wistrom at the spring game. What was that like? What are some of the things that maybe you guys chatted about? Maybe some knowledge that he imparted your way from his experiences?
Blaise: Yeah, I mean he was a great dude. Coach Chinander introduced me to him, like you said at the spring game, and it was an honor to meet one of the Husker greats. He said, just never stop working. My success will come, my love for the game will show, and he gave me some really great words of advice. I'm taking that with me and using that as my motivation.
Adam: When will you be arriving on campus? Will it be in the summer, or will it be sooner than that? When will you get on campus?
Blaise: January 11th, I'll really early.
Adam: Okay, so you'll be here at winter conditioning. You'll be here for spring ball and all that good stuff.
Blaise: Yes sir.
Adam: Okay, awesome. Are you excited about that? And I've always been curious, you know, the decision making process to basically forego, it sounds weird to say because it's high school, forego the rest of your senior year in high school and to arrive on campus early. There's obvious benefits to that, but how did this decision making process for you go, because you know, you're not going to do prom, but you get the ability, the opportunity to do winter conditioning, you know, certain things you won't get to do in high school, but you get a head start and a huge jump when it comes to spring ball. So, how did that decision-making process work for you?
Blaise: Yeah, so during the whole recruiting process, I was trying to figure out if I was going to do this or not. I asked coaching staff, everyone that recruited me on their opinion on the matter. So, I think I got a lot of wise knowledge about the issue. I put that all into perspective and I just decided that — I was good at track, I wasn't a standout dude. I was good at basketball, not a standout dude. And I just knew that I would have more of a benefit and be more happy if I could just get into the Husker program. I'm a small town Iowa guy, and you know, that's probably one or two guys in my school who are going to play division I, or just going to play football, you know what I mean? So, I don't have many guys in my school that are doing the same workouts and stuff that I'm trying to do every day. So, it's going to be nice to be surrounded by a bunch of people who are going for the same goal, and I think that'll attribute my future success. So, that's that's one of the main reasons, as well as, just getting in there and learning the playbook and hopefully corralling the pass rush for you guys in the near future.
Adam: Yeah, definitely. So I mean, it's interesting you say that because, and I was certainly no stand out. I was like, if you know who Dennis Rodman is, I was a Dennis Rodman of my basketball team, like if you needed a defensive player, a rebounder and a guy to hack the crap out of somebody that was me. So I didn't —
Blaise: Yeah, that's all football guys man. I was the same way you know. We just get in there and try to hit some people.
Adam: Yeah, I forgoed, my senior year of basketball, if you will, and I did play a little bit of baseball, but I did not play my summer baseball so I could get to — now, back in my day. You know, back in my day guys didn't arrive on campus as often. It's something guys have benefited from doing now more in recent years, but I got there in the summer as early as I possibly could. So I thought that that was something that helped me. Now, what's something that excites you when you look at this 3-4 defense and this attacking style of defense, and Erik Chinander and how he runs it, what excites you the most about playing in this defense in the future?
Blaise: I think you just explained it pretty well. The way Erik Chinander can dial up his blitzes and stuff, so that's pretty exciting in itself, and once we get some normal pass rush off of only rushing four, that's when it's going to get real scary, because guys in the secondary are going to be moving around, and so I think that's scary in itself. And then, you know, once we get a group of guys, who are all committed and we bond off the field, you know what I mean, because that's underrated in football — that bond off the field, because once you know what all your teammates are going to do on every play, your job becomes that much easier because you trust in the guy next to you that he can do his job and that you're going to have success together on the field. If everybody's out there just trying to do their own thing, you're not going to be a successful team. So, I think we need to get our camaraderie up and once we do that, I mean, we're gonna be a scary defense because I know Coach Frost, Coach Chinander, we're gonna bring in all the talent we can.
Adam: Now, is the plan for you, because 250 that's not a bad outside linebacker weight right now, you know, maybe put on a little bit of weight. Is the plan for you to stay at outside linebacker, go inside, possibly d-line? What is the plan down the road for you?
Blaise: The plan is to just get as lean and athletic as possible. I think 265 sounds like a good weight for me, and that's as lean as possible. I'm like 6-5 and a half almost right now, so I might even get to 6-6. I'm a tall kid. I need to get my legs bigger for sure, but I think a lean 265 would be ideal for me.
Adam: So, it sounds like probably outside linebacker, maybe inside linebackers, is that the plan?
Blaise: Outside linebacker, yeah, that stand up outside linebacker.
Adam: Okay, awesome. I want to thank you for joining me. Good luck. Hey man, this is my cell. Feel free to keep it if you ever need anything, don't hesitate to hit me up and until next time —
Blaise: Yes sir.
Adam: I want to thank you for joining me, Husker Nation. Until next time, go Big Red and always remember —
Blaise: Throw the bones, baby!
Thanks again to the Nebraska Spine Hospital. Ladies and gentlemen, when it’s your spine, you do not want to mess around. Experience matters. That’s why you can trust the experts at Nebraska Spine Hospital, the region's only spine specific hospital. They are the best at what they do.
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